Friday, June 20, 2014

StoryCorps + Disability Visibility Project Seek Stories About Disability

You know those StoryCorps recordings you might have heard on NPR's “Morning Edition”? Well, StoryCorps is partnering with the Disability Visibility Project, which kicks off this Monday as an effort to record disability history, especially as it pertains to the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act nearly 25 years ago.

StoryCorps is a national, independent nonprofit that has collected more than 45,000 interviews since 2003. Every interview becomes part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Its main purpose is to give people of all kinds a platform to share their stories and contribute to our oral history, reinforcing the idea of shared humanity and strengthening connections between people and cultures.

The Disability Visibility Project was founded by Alice Wong as a community partnership with StoryCorps San Francisco. From July 2014 to July 2015, anyone can go to a StoryCorps location (the west coast one is in San Francisco) and record their story about disability experience. Wong hopes that by recording and preserving these stories, disability history will be preserved and made accessible to everyone.

“The history of people with disabilities rarely appears in textbooks,” says Wong. “I’ve had the good fortune to meet so many fascinating and amazing people with disabilities who have been fighting for disability rights for decades. I believe their stories and the stories of everyday Americans with disabilities should be preserved.”

Here's (in short) how it works:

Two people who know one another go to a StoryCorps booth (including the touring Mobile Booth). 
They have a conversation however they want—no limits on language or format—for about 40 minutes. (Wong envisions this being a celebration of the ADA, but the purpose seems to be to record and preserve disability history in general.) 
Each person goes home with a CD of their conversation and knowledge that their story will be preserved in a distinct collection withing the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress in Washington.

Pretty awesome, right? San Francisco is not super close, of course, but how neat would it be to get some Kiwanis voices in the mix? Perhaps a camp road trip is in order... :)

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